Nigel Winterburn has urged Mikel Arteta to make Kieran Tierney Arsenal’s captain amid reports Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could leave the club this summer.

Kieran Tierney in a pre-season friendly with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)
Kieran Tierney in a pre-season friendly with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)

Against Brentford on Friday, many were frustrated to see the captain’s armband handed back to Granit Xhaka in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Tierney also started the game but Mikel Arteta opted to hand the armband to the player who has already had it taken from him and was half way to Rome just two weeks ago.

“Mikel Arteta handed Granit Xhaka the captaincy back on Friday night and obviously feels he is a player that could take that responsibility,” Winterburn said.

“Some Arsenal supporters will never forgive him, and others are already calling for Kieran Tierney to become captain. You don’t need to be massively vocal; a captain can lead by example, and Tierney is someone who does so.

“I couldn’t quite believe it myself; I was surprised to see Xhaka being given the armband back, but that probably says a lot about who else is there to step up and take it.

“For some players when you give them the captaincy, they step up. For me, the only other possible captain is Kieran Tierney. Where else could it go?

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is club captain, but there’s questions being asked of him, and we’re still guessing where he and Alexandre Lacazette are. We’ve had very few updates on what type of illness they’re suffering.”

Winterburn isn’t wrong on many of the points he makes.

Tierney would make an excellent club captain and we have had no updates on Aubameyang and Lacazette’s illnesses, not even what it is they are suffering from. Everybody assumes it’s Covid, but has anyone actually said that? Not that I’ve seen.

From what I can see, the only mention of them being ill is a line in the match report that reads, “Lacazette and Aubameyang both ruled out through illness.”

We did, of course, have the report that the Brentford game was nearly called off and everybody had to take Covid tests but if you read those reports closely you will see that nobody says Covid is what Auba and Laca have, just ‘illness’.

The Daily Mail, who broke the story say in their header that “three players reported feeling ill before the match,” but that, along with everyone having to take covid tests which is what we do when we feel ill in anyway these days, is the only information we’ve had.

Not suggesting there’s anything sinister afoot, just pointing out it looks strange.